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Ukrainians outnumber Estonians in Finland's work-based immigration stats

Construction workers in Estonia. (Photo is illustrative).
Construction workers in Estonia. (Photo is illustrative). Source: Rene Suurkaev/ERR

Finland's national broadcaster YLE reports Ukrainians are now the largest national group arriving in Finland to work overtaking Estonians, according to figures from the Finnish Immigration Service.

Two years ago Ukrainians overtook Estonians as the group most likely to arrive in Finland for work, following an increase in salaries in Estonia and last year more than 1,800 people moved to Finland from Ukraine for work, compared to just over 1,200 people from Estonia.

The reason is relative pay differentials, YLE writes, with the Estonian average wage rising quickly and making it less beneficial for workers to go to Finland.

Salaries in Finland have grown more slowly, albeit from a higher base, but they remain attractive to workers moving from Ukraine where average wages are around €350 euros per month.

This can make Ukrainians vulnerable to exploitation when they arrive in Finland, especially in the construction sector where more than one in eight workers is a foreigner, and YLE quotes Urmet Aru, an Estonian who works for the construction trade union in Finland, saying that he has seen cases where Ukrainians have been paid €5-8 euros an hour. Usually, it should be at least double that.

Historically, Estonians have been the largest migrant group in Finland and there are estimated to be at least 50,000 living in the Nordic country. Estonians have been attracted to Finland because of the higher wages, similar languages, and Finland's close proximity.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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